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South Carolina has more than 500 active sand mines, a number that has increased by 35 percent since 2000. But an Uncovered investigation reveals a pattern of abuse. In Awendaw, a company run by Elliott Summey, who has held powerful public positions, mined millions of dollars in sand and dirt from a public park, leaving behind a string of violations and unanswered questions.

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The newspaper's staff was recognized in the local reporting category for its work on the project, which was published between April and December of last year. Rising Waters documented how the accelerating forces of climate change pose an existential threat to the Lowcountry, from wetter hurricanes to “rain bombs” to flooding high tides.

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The Post and Courier's Uncovered investigation found the state's five public natural gas authorities are a portrait of excess. Boards and staff lavish themselves with luxury retreats, describing them as team-building events. They take place at beach resorts such as The Sanctuary on Kiawah and mountain resorts in Asheville, far from the prying eyes of ratepayers and reporters.

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Instances of alleged and prosecuted corruption have flourished as South Carolina’s newspapers close and shrink, creating news desserts and ghost papers across the Palmetto State. Our latest yearlong project, “Uncovered,” aims to fill some of that void. Here is the reality of work like this: it is incredibly expensive. 

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A new analysis for The Post and Courier’s Rising Waters project shows how the Charleston area’s unprecedented building boom has made us more vulnerable amid the accelerating forces of climate change. The study shows that a fast-growing Charleston has lost 5 percent of its tree canopy, and that faster-growing Mount Pleasant lost 22 percent of its tree cover.

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The forces affecting our climate are enormous, and the rapid changes taking place can be overwhelming. So we decided to distill some of these issues into “Flood Woman vs. Climate Doom.” It’s a comic book format, so exaggeration is part of it all. But the underlying message is accurate: Because we’ve released so much CO2, we’ve unleashed massive changes in the climate.

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Birding is among the nation’s most popular outdoor activities. Here are several guidelines by the American Birding Association and Audubon Society:

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Without action, the eastern black rail could vanish within the next two generations. Here are ways conservationists say we can save the black rail, other birds — and maybe ourselves.

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In the 1700s, planters chopped down the Lowcountry's great cypress forests and drained the swamps. Using hand tools, oxen and muscle, enslaved workers built hundreds of miles of rectangular dikes. They harnessed the tides, installing wooden gates called trunks, to flood fields behind those dikes. 

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Set aside the notion of climate change. The climate has always changed. The real story is about speed. The pace of change. From rain bombs to higher sea levels, the impacts are coming faster. Wednesday's deluge in Charleston was yet another reminder how this affects our community in many ways.

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The new coronavirus hit South Carolina like a hurricane this week, with cases rising at an exponential rate and state and public officials scrambling to find ways to contain an outbreak that had devastated so many other places far away. Amid the shift, we followed four people as they struggled adapt and to understand what was happening. 

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South Carolina has had a parade of sheriffs caught up in scandals in recent years. A Post and Courier investigation earlier this year found more misconduct. Published in March, “Above the Law,” showed that one in four of South Carolina's 46 counties in the past decade had seen their sheriffs accused of breaking laws they swore to uphold. By the end of 2019, three more sheriffs had been indicted and removed from office.

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Vera officials chose Lee Correctional because it has a large percentage of young offenders serving long sentences. A similar pilot program has been in place for two years at Turbeville Correctional Institution, home to the state's youthful offender program, where inmates usually serve three years or less.


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